Why The Fax Machine Still Rules In Japan

More than 1.7 million were sold last year alone, revealing an aging culture's devotion to tradition and a technological lag behind other developed countries.

What's the Latest Development?

While some of the world's most advanced technology can be found in Japan, one pre-Internet item -- the fax machine -- doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Indeed, more than 1.7 million machines were purchased last year alone, with a small rise in sales taking place right after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami washed some machines away. Many businesses prefer communicating by fax in order to create paper trails and provide customers with a sense of personal connection and security that they say e-mail doesn't offer. 

What's the Big Idea?

Japan's complex written language and the late introduction of suitable computer keyboards make older citizens in particular more comfortable with faxes. Unlike other developed countries, the elderly make up a considerable portion of the population, and this has forced businesses to cope with increased inefficiency as a result. However, the growing technological divide between generations has motivated at least one company, telephone giant NTT, to bridge that gap by enabling the sending of fax messages to smartphones as e-mail attachments.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at The New York Times

Water may be an inevitable result of the process that forms rocky planets

New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

Surprising Science
  • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
  • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
  • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Elon Musk's SpaceX approved to launch 7,518 Starlink satellites into orbit

SpaceX plans to launch about 12,000 internet-providing satellites into orbit over the next six years.

Technology & Innovation
  • SpaceX plans to launch 1,600 satellites over the next few years, and to complete its full network over the next six.
  • Blanketing the globe with wireless internet-providing satellites could have big implications for financial institutions and people in rural areas.
  • Some are concerned about the proliferation of space debris in Earth's orbit.
Keep reading Show less